Walnuts & Diabetes Risk

New Harvard study reports walnut consumption to be linked to lower risk of type 2 diabetes in women.

Recent research published online by the Journal of Nutrition, found an inverse relationship between walnut consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in two large prospective cohorts of U.S. women: the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and NHS II. The researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health followed 58,063 women (52–77 years) in NHS (1998–2008) and 79,893 women (35–52 years) in NHS II (1999–2009) without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline. They found two or more servings (1 serving= 28 grams) of walnuts per week as part of a healthy diet to be associated with a 21% and 15% lower risk of incident type 2 diabetes before and after adjusting for body mass index (BMI) respectively. Please note the study populations primarily consisted of white female nurses, which may limit the generalizability of the findings to other ethnic groups or males.

Diabetes is estimated to affect 12.6 million women in the United States and 366 million people worldwide, and the numbers are expected to rise to approximately 552 million globally by 2030. Diet and lifestyle modifications are key components in fighting this epidemic. Because of potential benefits of PUFAs in preventing diabetes, the researchers of this study specifically investigated the association between walnut consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes in U.S. women. Compared with other nuts, which typically contain a high amount of monounsaturated fats, walnuts are unique because the fat content is primarily comprised of PUFAs and are the only nut with a significant amount of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5 grams of ALA per 1 ounce/ 28 gram serving).

Walnut Consumption is Associated with Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes in Women

[1] Please note: One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13 g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5 grams of alpha linolenic acid - the plant based omega-3; 2g of fiber; 4g of protein, 3.68 mmol/28 g of antioxidants. (http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/cgi-bin/list_nut_edit.pl)